It’s fine dining for a fraction of the cost. Saffron’s Restaurant, right inside Fanshawe College is the place to go for gourmet food and a romantic atmosphere.
The restaurant is 98% student run. They cook, they expedite, they serve, they host, they bartend, they clean up, and they clean up nicely. Chef Wade Fitzgerald is the mentor chef in the kitchen. He teaches the students how to properly function in a large kitchen, and helps out with hectic dinner services.
Fitzgerald says, “Our motto is that we are a teaching facility first. So we make sure the students get the hands on learning and practicality of it. We also want to make sure that they witness real life experiences and there are mistakes that happen. Wine can be spilt, food can be cooked not exactly the way the guests might like it, but thats real life situations, and our prices reflect that.”
Students are expected to rotate through all the positions in the restaurant, even if they have no interest in that particular position. Fitzgerald explains that the culinary students must serve every once in a while also; “It is easy to hide behind the walls and back but when they come out front, they get to see both ends of the service.”
Another appealing aspect of Saffron’s is their dedication to buying local ingredients. “60- 75% [of our ingredients] will all be local. That’s minus the lemons, limes, the oranges, all the fruit we can’t get. We try to keep it as local as possible.”
Jeff is a second year culinary student who is currently on rotation at Saffron’s. His favourite position is managing the kitchen as chef of the day. “I like having the creative control. Its the expedition of orders and calling out what needs to be done. I keep track of what’s been ordered and make sure it is coming out all at the same time.”
What sparked Jeff’s interest in the culinary program? “I already had a lot of skill as a home cook and I really enjoy cooking. But more so, I enjoy cooking for a group of customers that I can interact with.”
For menus, and to book a reservation visit http://www.fanshawec.ca/programs-courses/academic-schools-0/tourism-hospitality/saffrons-restaurant